Some detailed information and perspective about both the financial and social side of our pandemic.

From Tim Newell and Bruce Bruinsma
March 18, 2020

A few weeks ago, on February 19th, the S&P500 was at a record high as healthy data on the US economy signaled continued growth on the horizon. Then, as coronavirus, which started in China, began to grow in other countries like Iran, South Korea, Italy, Spain, Germany, France, and the United States, markets went into a tailspin. The market suffered one of the fastest declines on record. The last several weeks have been characterized by extreme volatility as investors try to make heads or tails of the situation.

Coverage around the virus has been almost exclusively negative. Political leaders and the media have attempted to spur drastic action by publicizing worst-case scenarios. It should come as little surprise then, that fear of the unknown and of a possible recession is on many people’s minds. It is at times like these that it becomes more crucial than ever to be driven not by fear, but by looking at the data of the current conditions we are in and asking ourselves how this might compare to similar conditions of the past.

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

It is also a great time for the body of Christ to rise up and explore ways to share the source of our peace in troubled times.

At Envoy we believe this is the time for the church to shine the love of Jesus on a lost world.  Although the current coronavirus pandemic can be scary, we should also be concerned about the number of people around the world slipping into eternity every day without having a personal relationship with Jesus. This is true whatever the cause of death. Not knowing Jesus is truly the most urgent pandemic in our world today!

Fortunately, even in the midst of chaos and uncertainty, positive developments are still happening. This is not to diminish the seriousness of COVID-19. We recognize that there is an overwhelming amount of media coverage about the virus, but not all of it is bad news. Here are a few of the positive signs we are seeing. The following map and chart focuses on the numbers of individuals affected by the COVID-19.


As of just before noon on March 18th, the number of total confirmed cases had grown to 205,452 however the total recoveries is 82,091. Click here for the most recent statistics. Although the numbers are continually changing, the number of recoveries far outweigh the fatalities.

A wave of recoveries is on the horizon.

The country of China is seeing that both new cases and deaths are trending lower each day.  Yesterday the number of new cases in China lowered to sixteen, and the number of deaths from the coronavirus was seven. The value of human life is far beyond a number, but numbers do help us understand trends. The trend suggests we will first see a significant increase in cases in the US, but then similar reductions will follow. As new cases start to decrease, the number of daily recoveries will surpass new cases being reported. When? Although there is no definitive answer at this point, President Trump and the CDC have both suggested a timeline as late as summer. Whenever that day does come, we will all breathe a sigh of relief.

Testing capacity is about to rise substantially.

Many private labs are now approved to conduct tests. The FDA announced that not only will high-volume testing be allowed, but also that emergency approval has been given for an automated coronavirus test. This will speed up the testing process tenfold. Tests are becoming more available and the results will come quicker. Increased testing will result in knowing the facts, educating local governments and communities, and mitigating the spread. Although the number of confirmed cases in the United States will continue to rise at an accelerated pace, due to more accessible testing, the new cases will, in time, start decreasing, and the number of daily recoveries will surpass any new cases being reported. 

History – including the experiences of both China and South Korea with coronavirus – shows that identification and treatment leads to a slowdown in the pace of new cases and an increase in recoveries. The data shows that, typically, it takes roughly two weeks for otherwise healthy individuals who test positive to recover and be officially moved from the “active” to the “recovered” counts. Once we are about two weeks out from the initial surge in US cases, recoveries should begin to rise consistently and substantially. The world recovery rate currently sits at 93%. It is reasonable to assume that the US will move toward and then exceed the world recovery rate in the weeks ahead.

The private US healthcare industry is the best in the world.

One of the most significant positives overlooked by the media in the fallout from the coronavirus is just how fast the private US healthcare industry has responded. A number of the companies we are trading in our Coronavirus Defense Model have already begun testing vaccines, and many other companies have followed suit with their own treatments. Doctors are currently evaluating a few experimental anti-viral drugs to treat US coronavirus patients, and the drugs are showing positive results. Although widespread use and marketing of these discoveries are still months away, imagine how long this might have taken 50 years ago. The speed with which these developments have been made is astounding – a quicker response than even 10 or 20 years ago.

A 2013 study by the Department of Health and Human Services determined that the US has the most intensive care unit beds per capita of any country. There are 20-32 beds per 100,000 people. This is far higher than China where there are only 2.8-4.6. This is one of the reasons why China built so many hospitals overnight. Likewise, the US also has more beds than countries with socialized medical systems like Canada (13.5), Sweden (5.8-8.7), or the UK (3.5-7.4). This means the US is better suited to deal with the healthcare capacity issues.

These factors combined demonstrate that the US is well poised to not only win our own fight against the coronavirus, but also to export treatments to help the rest of the world.

The coming weeks will be critical as tests go out en masse and we learn more about the enemy we are fighting, but we are up to the task. Panic is never permanent, and as the virus response ramps up, sentiment will turn higher as well. Every day we learn more. Every day we make progress. This too shall pass. We just have to be patient.

Most economists agree that the equity markets are oversold, yet we will continue to see huge volatility both up and down until the panic subsides.

The Fed stepped in with huge rate cuts in an attempt to ease the panic-driven selloff. The Fed cuts should eventually help calm markets; however, it hasn’t yet had that effect. The cuts should allow both businesses and individuals to refinance existing debt at much lower interest rates, which consequently ought to ease market stress.

With all these economic changes and unfamiliar waters, there’s much to be asked of what we ought to do 

Here are a few of the financial steps to consider going forward:

  1. Stay the course. As is often the case with rapid drops in the equity markets, by the time someone is thinking about getting out of the equity markets, the damage from the panic selling has already taken place. Moving to bonds could potentially be bad timing as the interest rates have dropped sharply to new all-time lows, which means that as they start to rise again bonds could lose value quickly.

  2. Delay moving some portion to cash. Although this may feel safer in the short run, it may cause you to miss the recovery when equity markets turn back up again, which will eventually happen.

  3. Reallocate to a higher allocation into equities. If you have missed the recent rally in equities because you were waiting for a better buying opportunity, this is probably it.

  4. Get low interest cash ready to get invested. Consider setting up a brokerage account with us at TD Ameritrade to take advantage of the rebound as the news begins to turn positive again.

  5. Set up and fund a Faith-Based IRA account. You will be in position to take advantage of equities being on sale. We can assist you with that if you would like.

  6. Set up and invest in an account at TD Ameritrade. Our Corona Defense Model is investing in companies that are identified to do well in the current environment we are in.

  7. Consider refinancing higher interest mortgage loans. If you have a mortgage loan, now might be a great time to consider refinancing that mortgage as interest rates are now at all-time lows.

  8. Consider a Roth Conversion. By doing this while your account is down in value, you are paying taxes on the amount converted and will realize the investment gains in a tax-free retirement investment account. It might be not be the best time for you, but we can see if it makes sense in your particular situation.

In addition to the financial stress, there is the emotional stress too. This emotional stress is another area where Christians have an advantage…we do know the source of peace that passes all understanding.

A Christian distinctive is the relationship we have directly with our God.

Loving our neighbor directs the horizontal relationship we have as family and believers toward a vertical relationship with God. In our current circumstance, our normal flow of relationships and community is being totally disrupted. Spending extended time at home with your spouse and family will test all of us relationally. Losing community through our church or small groups will challenge us emotionally too.

Here are some thoughts that may help you and your family navigate these isolated times:

  1. Use technology to stay connected to your support groups and friends. If you aren’t comfortable with your ability to access the technology, call your church and ask them to connect you with one of the high school students who are out of school. Many of them can help.

  2. Sit down and have a family conference. Talk freely about everyone’s fears and answer questions based on the best information available.

  3. Plan your days and establish routines.

    1. Everyone needs a “time out” – some time to be by yourself.

    2. Everyone needs together time for sharing and being encouraged.

    3. Set up a time for family devotions.

    4. Make sure you and your spouse are talking frequently and are on the same page with regards to the schedule, kids, etc.

    5. Pray. Consider using the PrayerMate app at

    6. Take this downtime to talk about your future – yes retirement. Read The Retirement Reformation or one of the other great books recommended on

    7. Set aside 30 minutes every day to call the person(s) God brings to mind. Listen, encourage, and help them when needed.

    8. Include puzzles and games in your family time.

    9. There will be many options on the internet to provide new ways for “togetherness” to take place. #TogetherAtHome is one Twitter location where artists will be putting concerts online.

    10. Go to home schooling networks or call your friends who home school for ideas about how to fill the days productively and without harming each other.

    11. Get some fresh air.

This isolation may go on for a while, but let’s become more connected during this time.

Take this opportunity to:

  1. Tune into your church’s virtual services.

  2. Meet with your small group virtually or on the phone.

  3. Explore those pastors and churches you’ve heard about but could not visit. You can visit almost any church in the country virtually.

  4. Share new-found resources with your friends.

  5. Outline the book you always wanted to write, or read the book you’ve always wanted to read, like the Bible.

  6. Tell your spouse, kids, and friends how much you appreciate and love them. That can’t be said enough.

We pray for a blessing to each of you and a hedge of protection around you and all you hold dear.

Timothy J. Newell
Bruce Bruinsma